Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Waterford manager Paraic Fanning getting his point across during Saturday’s NHL win over Clare in Walsh Park. Photo: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo.

NHL Quarter-final: Waterford v Clare: Reaction: Paraic Fanning

After facile wins over Offaly, Laois and Carlow, Waterford are now getting to mix it with the top teams and they’re liking it. A lot. Galway last week, Clare this week and next weekend it will be Galway again, this time with the prize of a league final appearance up for grabs. A 14 point win over Clare might have made a few more people sit up and take notice at what’s going on in Waterford hurling circles but Paraic Fanning and his troops certainly won’t be getting carried away.
“We’re just delighted to get the win. For us it was all about the result and getting the win and the fact that we tacked on a few points towards the end is great but the breeze probably helped us in the second-half to do that.”
Much was made about this game being a dress rehearsal for their Munster SHC meeting at the same venue in two months time but Paraic wasn’t making much of that in his post match thoughts to the press.
“We go out in every match to win, we came today to win and whether we won the game or lost the game it wouldn’t have changed my view that today’s game wasn’t going to have a big impact either way on our Munster Championship meeting. It’ll be a different time of the year, different conditions and we all know championship is different. Today for us was all about getting a result and moving on to a league semi-final and we did that, we’re not even thinking about May yet.”
Next weekend it’ll be Galway for the second time in three weeks, this time in a league semi-final.
“Yeah, we played them only last week so we know they’re a serious outfit and one of the contenders for the All-Ireland so we know we’re going to be facing a massive challenge but when you get down to the last four of a National Competition you’re going to be playing against one of the best teams in the land and Galway are certainly one of those.”

‘TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON SYSTEMS’
After putting up big scores in nearly every game this year, people are saying that this Waterford team are playing with great expression but Paraic is slow enough to buy into the hype.
“I’m not sure. There’s a lot of talk about the way we’re playing but essentially we’re making good decisions and working hard to do that. If the good decisions we make turn into good scores then we’re happy with that. We’ve only tweaked a couple of things so I think there’s too much emphasis on systems but at the end of the day the lads made plenty of good decisions today and we ended up putting a big score on the board. We only had three wides today. Some days that happens. I’ve been on the receiving end of that too when you play against a team that everything they hit goes over and today nearly everything we hit went over and you take that when it comes your way.
“I think similar to last week against Galway, the foundation for the win was laid in the first-half. We managed to do a lot of good stuff against the breeze and get up the field and keep the scoreboard ticking over. I think some teams when they play against the breeze they can become too defensive and then you can find yourself chasing too much so I was quietly pleased with where we were at half-time as we knew that it was going to be a difficult breeze to play against.

‘A GREAT BUNCH’
“I’m thrilled with all the lads today. The big plus for us is that they’re a great bunch of lads and they work very well as a unit. Look we’re doing the best we can and whether we’ll get a big result out of it in the end I don’t know but all that we can do is to keep pushing the boundaries and see where that takes us.
On the injury-front, the outlook is definitely getting a bit brighter with every passing week.
“There’s a few lads that are improving week on week and each week we hope that this might be the week that they get back. Maurice (Shanahan) came back and got some game time today, Patrick Curran was back in the squad today also so there are lads coming back all the time. A few weeks ago we only had a panel of 23 togged out, today we had 28 or 29 so we’re getting there.”
While the forwards have been garnering most of the praise, Paraic is very happy with the way the backs have been playing of late.
“We’ve had three tough games in a row now and while we weren’t over happy with ourselves in the Dublin game we took a lot of out of that game and we’ve done well in the last two games against Galway and Clare and we’ll hope to build on that,” said the Déise boss.

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